In this partner post, we explore how Signature Care successfully implemented SilVR Adventures’ Virtual Reality (VR) experiences in dementia care, overcoming initial scepticism. Positive resident responses boosted workforce morale.
Signature Care, a family-owned aged care business with facilities in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, recently began using SilVR Adventures’ VR technology in their dementia care setting. Clare, with a Master’s in Gerontology, and Suzannah, leading the well-being team, embarked on a journey of incorporating VR into the care setting.
Clare expressed doubt about VR’s efficacy for those living with severe dementia due to the headset’s invasive appearance. Despite some exposure to VR, Suzannah also shared initial scepticism. They decided to explore its potential, open to the positive experiences reported by others.
Three Months Later
Positive resident and staff reactions surprised both Clare and Suzannah, highlighting instances of improved communication and emotional reconnection. Residents, previously non-verbal, engaged in animated conversations, sparking memories and reconnecting with their past.
“Seeing the reaction of residents and staff, I am blown away and my thoughts have completely changed. It is unreal. We have family members who take time to write us emails with positive feedback, one specific instance being to say that their father had been almost non-verbal for a while, given his decline in his cognitive abilities, but using VR, he’s suddenly very chatty and full of beans. He went back to the UK in a VR experience and recognised places he had been before, and he’s suddenly talking about soccer, and quite animated after the session, chatting away”, shared Suzannah.
Signature Care prioritised creating virtual community spaces, incorporating sounds and smells for enhanced immersion. Residents reported feeling the sand under their feet during beach sessions, showcasing VR’s ability to awaken various senses. A sensory room with colour schemes, scents, and tactile elements further enriched VR experiences.
VR trips to places like Uluru (watch below) revealed residents with cognitive impairments focusing on intricate details, demonstrating an unusual cognitive engagement. Clare highlighted VR’s power to awaken senses, enabling residents to recall and feel elements like sand, contributing to cognitive stimulation.
A resident’s moving rendition of a classical song in a cathedral in Italy brought tears, showcasing VR’s emotional impact. Post-VR sessions, residents engaged in full, meaningful conversations, breaking the barriers of non-cognisant communication.
Signature Care earned the title of “Super Users” for their extensive VR program utilisation. Clare, now a strong advocate, praised SilVR Adventures’ solution. The ability to tailor VR experiences for each resident, including recreating significant life events, contributed to improved quality of life and reconnection with loved ones.
“We have created such wonderful spaces for our dementia wards that the staff often ask if they can work there. It has boosted workforce morale and uplifted spirits to see how rewarding it is, despite it being more demanding. It’s just become such a wonderful place to be, and that is why we will always be super users,” Clare added.
SilVR Adventures’ solution not only enhanced resident experiences but also revitalised workforce morale, creating a unique and rewarding care environment. Clare and Suzannah’s advocacy reflects a commitment to integrating VR into broader dementia care settings.